GROUND LADDERS

Ground Ladder inspections per NFPA 1932

 Properly maintained ladders are essential to the safe and economical operation of a fire department. Firefighters rely on the ladders to perform structurally and mechanically as intended.

WHEN SHOULD GROUND LADDERS BE TESTED?
NFPA 1932 contains the following requirements pertaining to frequency of ground ladder testing:

  • At least annually
  • Any time a ladder is suspected of being unsafe
  • After the ladder has been subjected to overloading
  • After the ladder has been subjected to impact loading or unusual conditions of use
  • After heat exposure
  • After any deficiencies have been repaired, unless the only repair was replacing the halyard.
  • Before the ladder is placed in service for the first time


An annual inspection and test program uncovers many defects before they become major problems, thus resulting in better safety precautions and lower maintenance costs.

American Test Center will perform a thorough test and inspection at your site by a well-equipped two-person crew of non-destructive technicians who are experienced in structural testing. They are supported by a staff of engineers, ASNT NDT technicians and equipment specialists.

American Test Center performs the following tests and inspections:


I. STRUCTURAL

A. Visual Inspection: A complete visual inspection of:

  1. Base Section - side rail condition, rail alignment, rung condition, rung to rail attachment, butt spurs/foot pads, ladder stops, stay poles, toggles, raid guides/lubrication
  2. Intermediate sections - side rail condition, rail alignment, rung condition, rung to rail attachment, ladder stops, pawl operation and lubrication, rail guides/lubrication.
  3. Fly Section - side rail condition, rail alignment, rung condition, rung to rail attachment, ladder stops, pawl operation and lubrication, rail guides/lubrication
  4. Halyard Condition - rope size and condition, anchors, thimbles, clamps, pulleys, and adjustment.
  5. Roof Hooks - hook size, hook condition, operation and sharpness, hook housing and adjustment
  6. General - heat sensor labels, electrical hazard sticker, serial number identification, and ladder length marking


B. Hardness Testing:  Hardness testing is done on aluminum ladders as needed. Heat affected (annealed) areas on aluminum ladders are not visible to the naked eye, thus it is necessary to perform a hardness test, and a load test to determine its strength. The hardness service test is performed along the top and bottom of both beams.

C. Liquid Penetrant Testing: This test method is used on ground ladders made of aluminum material to verify discontinuities determined by visual inspection.


II. SERVICE TESTING

A. Horizontal Bending Test: (For all ladders except pompier ladders)

A load is applied to ladder in a horizontal position, with the ladder supported at the ends and loaded in the center.  After successfully completing the loading process the ladder checked to ensure it retains it's original shape, criteria for this is established for each ladder type in NFPA 1932.


B. Ladder Hardware Test (Extension ladders only)

A specially designed test fixture is used to load the ladder across each extension lock assembly. The ladder locks must be in the set or locked position. The test load shall be applied for a minimum of one minute. Ladders shall sustain this test with no permanent deformation or other visible weakening of the structure.

C. Roof Ladder Hook Test (Ladders with roof hooks)
Apply the test load for a period of one minute to the roof hooks. The ladder and hooks shall sustain this test load with no permanent deformation or other visible weakening of the structure. Deformation to the hooks shall not exceed specifications. Note: Roof hooks should measure 3/4 inch diameter or 5/8 inch should be made of alloy steel.


III. REPORTS

Test defects are listed on American Test Center test report forms and described in detail on a comment sheet. Defects are classified for degree of severity. After the test, American Test Center personnel will review the report with the department representative. A signed, dated copy of the test report listing the defects discussed is left with the department. The reports are then subjected to a quality review by American Test Center's professional staff.


IV. SCHEDULING

American Test Center schedules tests with each fire department to best meet their individual requirements throughout the year. American Test Center has crews located throughout the United States to perform the tests at the fire department location. American Test Center encourages your department to have a representative present during the tests to observe and ask questions. American Test Center is flexible and will modify our standard testing procedures to meet your particular needs.

image154